Wexford Festival Opera celebrates American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist Leonard Bernstein. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was ‘one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.’
His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world’s leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town, On the Waterfront, his Mass, and a range of other compositions, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works.
As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and critical success of West Side Story.
Wexford perennial favourite Roberto Recchia will direct this celebration. A group of singers organize a birthday party for Leonard Bernstein. They wait, everything is ready, but the guest of honour is late. While they wait, they play, they sing, they read excerpts from his letters. The result is a colourful musical portrait of one of the best loved composers and conductors.
The program will include solos and ensembles from Bernstein’s most celebrated musicals, as well some of his lesser-known songs (including the two cycles I hate to sing and La bonne cuisine).
Previously at WFO: Répétiteur (Margherita, Foroni, 2017); Music Director (La scala di seta ShortWork, Donizetti, 2017).
Previous engagements: Coach and Répétiteur (Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky, Vancouver Opera; L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti, Vancouver Opera); Pianist (soundSCAPE New Music Festival).
Forthcoming engagements: Coach and Répétiteur (La bohème, Puccini, Vancouver Opera; Faust, Gounod, Vancouver Opera).
Previously at WFO: Director – Mainstage (Don Gregorio, Donizetti, 2006; Une Éducation manquée, Chabrier, 2009; La cambiale de matrimonia, Rossini, 2009), Director – ShortWorks (various, 2000–2018).
Previous engagements: Director (Adelson e Salvini, Bellini, Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania; Crime passionnel, Piazzolla, Teatro No’hma Milano).
Forthcoming engagements: Director (Tutto quello che voglio, Cinzia Spanò, Teatro dell’Elfo – Milano), Director/Actor (I love you. You're perfect. Now change, Joe Di Pietro / Jimmy Roberts, Teatro Delfino – Milano; Saltimbanchi si muore, Enzo Jannacci / Beppe Viola, Teatro dell’Elfo – Milano).
Stage & Costume Designer
Angela Giulia Toso
Previously at WFO: Set Designer Assistant (Risurrezione, Alfano, 2017)
Previous engagements: Costume Designer (La bohème, Puccini, Firenze Opera/ Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), Costume Designer Assistant (Festival International d’art lyrique d’Aix en Provence), Set and Costume Designer Assistant (Festival Internacional de Ballet de Cali, Colombia).
Previous engagements: Michal cover (Saul, Handel, Glyndebourne Festival), Rodelinda cover (Rodelinda, Handel, English National Opera), Soloist (Symphony No 9, Beethoven, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne).
Forthcoming engagements: Pamina (The Magic Flute, Mozart, Scottish Opera).
Previously at WFO: First Handmaiden (Medea, Cherubini, 2017), Polly/Mrs Delacour/Barmaid/Tom (Dubliners ShortWork, Synnott, 2017), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel ShortWork, Humperdinck, 2015).
Previous engagements: Emma (Backstage, Tom Lane, The Cork Midsummer Festival), Guest Soloist (Live Broadcast RTÉ Lyric Fm, RTÉ Concert Orchestra), Soloist (Opera Collective Ireland/RTÉ Concert Orchestra, National Concert Hall).
Forthcoming engagements: Amore (Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck, Irish National Opera), Yum-Yum (The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan, Cork Opera House).
Previous engagements: Dot (The Original Chinese Conjuror, Raymond Yiu, Northern Opera Group), Paquette (Candide, Bernstein, Surrey Opera), Shepherd Boy (Tosca, Puccini, Grange Park Opera